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The Civil War- When Conspiracies Fall

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  • The Civil War- When Conspiracies Fall

    so while I'm thinking about an appropriate group for the Bowery Dogs Era, I've decided in the meanwhile to write down an old idea of mine- which is simply called as the Civil Wars. The main point of that thought experiment is exploring the different plot hooks which were offered to certain conspiracies at Compact & Conspiracies which are meant to end up with a violent, internal strife. According to that thread, the Conspiracies break down and lose much of their power (although they still don't fall down the Tiers) with each of the different factions surviving the fall- and because of that the way the "fallen" parts of the conspiracy have to modify the way they use their Endowments (that is, their powers are the same- but their way to do so is a bit, or more than a bit, different)

    Anyway, because some of the conspiracies are harder to break down than the others, I've decided to start with the one who is already fractured into 3 different pieces..

    The Ascending Ones

    As presented in C&C, the Ascending Ones are actually more of three different conspiracies bound by a common past- the mystical Order of the Southern Temple, the militant Knife of Paradise and the drug dealing Jagged Crescent. Each group serves a purpose in the grander organization called the Ascending Ones, but maybe something happens which fracture that delicate balance- maybe the Temple succeed with their experiments with the Divine Fire, which turns the Knife against them and makes the Crescent to decide to pull back and cut its loses, especially since they have to deal with the sudden rise of the Undying Ones.. Eventually, the groups drift apart, each is wounded without its former allies- but it is considered to be a mostly none violent Civil War. At least, when compared to the other conspiracies.

    After the Civil War, each of the factions still name itself as the Ascending Ones, seeing itself as the "true" heir of the ancient tradition- yet only the Jagged Crescent keeps the Cult of the Phoenix title, changing its name in order to "return to its roots". With the Crescent breaking up, the other two factions are left without much resources (denying their access to the regular 3rd Status dot bonus), which forces them to search after other sources of funding- the Southern Temple, while losing its infrastructure, still have merchandise to sell, and by keeping its Contacts in the higher circles of society (represented as 2 dots of Contacts in an organization for the character's choosing) while the Knife turns toward its darker side and gains resources and turns into a form of a mercenary organization funding by weapon company and zealot organizations (represented as 2 dots in the Armory merit).

    While finding new source of funding may be hard, maintaining access to their Endowments may be even harder- after all, most of process of making new Elixirs is made by the alchemists Temple, and many hunters outside the faction may not know the exact process for the creation of the powerful potions. For that reason, only the Order of the Southern Temple use the Elixir merit as is. The former Jagged Crescent, being the ones to buy the ingredients and sell their products, had more than enough experiment and knowledge in how to create Elixirs that competes with the Temple- yet, without knowing the exact, complicate formulas, they couldn't have made the poison. Instead, they chose a different strategy in keeping their secrets safe- instead of killing the unworthy, it would bind them closely to the Cult. Instead of poisons, they would use drugs.

    When a member of the Cult of the Phoenix use an Elixir, he must roll the regular Stamina+Elixir, but the outcome of the roll is a bit different, and it is defined by "steps toward addiction". Each "step" lasts for [used Elixir's rating] days, which afterwards the character reverts one "step" backwards. The character may not be in a less "step" than 0. Once a character hits 3 "step" toward addiction, it suffers immediately from the Addict Condition toward Elixirs.

    Exceptional Success has the regular effect of the Elixir in question. Success allows the member to gain the effect of the Elixir in question, yet bring her one step out of 3 toward addiction. Failure would move the character 2 steps toward Addiction. Dramatic Failure would mean that the character is not under the influence of the Addict (Elixirs) Condition.

    The Knife of Paradise, however, always were more of warriors than occultists- and the lose of both their resources and elixirs was an harsh blow for them. For that reason, when the Crescent offered their services as Elixir suppliers, many of them obliged happily. Finally, they discovered about the new "side effects" of the Elixirs, but not before losing many of their members to the hands of the Cult. Those who escaped the attempt to take over the organization where so few that for some time, they have fallen down into a Compact. Things changed when they met a burning angel of God, who guided them toward the hideouts of an ancient cult serving one of the Undying. The angel guided them to use the knowledge in the name of God's glory, yet considering the heretic source of their knowledge they would have to suffer from God's anger. The members of the Knife took the sacrifice upon themselves, and started using the Elixirs in their fight against the night.

    Members of the Knife of Paradise use the same Elixirs as regular, yet instead of being in danger of a poison they are hunted by the cursed source of their power- an Exceptional or regular Success is the same as the canon effect of the Elixir in question, yet Failure would suffer from a Ban* for one day per dot of the Elixir for the ST's choice (make sure to match each Elixir its own Ban). Dramatic Failure would either double the Ban's duration OR add a Bane in addition, for the ST's choice.

    * The ST may use Regia Curses from Mummy: the Curse instead of Bans/Banes if he thinks it to be more appropriate.


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  • #2
    I like your idea a lot.

    A possible reason for the civil war could be that the AOs as they are now, look not unlike a narco-terrorist organisation. I doubt the Southern Temple are going to be happy when their allies bring down the United States government on their heads. I mean, Hunters are just mortals, there's no magical masquerade protecting them. They're as vulnerable as any secret society to external pressure.

    There's an ironic possibility that while conspiracies are great against supernatural creatures, they're actually horribly vulnerable to the very people and organsiations that they seek to protect.
    Last edited by Michael; 10-10-2015, 12:20 PM. Reason: I wrote 'Down' twice. I need to spend less time rewriting posts.


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    • #3
      yeah, such a thing could definitely be why the Temple would decide to leave the other two groups and makes its own Ascending Ones, with blackjack and hookers (well, actually that would be the Crescent's Ascending Ones, but you got the general idea). Eventually, each of the groups in the original Ascending Ones has an interest to pack its things and go away, only that right now their interest in staying together is much bigger. All that need for them to break apart is something that would change that balance. For other, conspiracies, however, it is going to be a lot bloodier. For example-

      The Aegis Kai Doru

      Among the relic hunters of the Guardians, all agree on one thing- the world fell because of the deeds of both witches and shapeshifters. The difference is in their attitudes- from one side, you have the Sword, who seek to destroy every skin changer and spell caster they find because of the ancient betrayal. On the other, you have the Scroll, who is more about seeking information and relics than brutally murdering people because of ancient history. And in the middle, you have the temple- who hardly get out of their Labyrinths and catalog all the secret treasures they find. They are all bound by their Vow by the magical Oath Stone, which makes sure that everyone would stay true to their original cause of gathering relics and killing mages and werebeasts. In theory, everything should have gone nice and smooth- until a little secret came out of the closet.

      The Scroll don't always kill their ancient enemies.

      Worse- they work with them.

      As you may imagine, the Sword wouldn't take it too well- they take their Vow very seriously, and those among them who work against that Vow are no better than the very enemy they hunt. It didn't took too long for the Sword to name the Scroll as traitors and openly attack them wherever they could find them. The Scroll, while they were in disadvantage for their lack of martial skills when compared to the Sword (and perhaps having lost their ability to use Relics, if you use that optional rule from C&C), they did had the help of their allies- the witches and the skin walkers who wished to protect them both as their friends AND as someone who stands between them and a bunch of zealot hunters. Of course, doing so would have turned the suspicion into fact, and make the whole "strife" into an open civil war.

      Many people on both sides would die in such war- but there is one thing which could stop it. The Temple choosing sides.

      Through most of the war, the Temple is neutral- for while it doesn't like the violent tendencies of the Sword, it also must admit that if the Scroll helps shifters and willworkers, than they are betraying their Vow. However, as time proceed and they see their conspiracy crumbling because of useless internal strife, they choose the best option between the two- the Scroll. Sure, they may have worked against their ancient history- but it is an ancient history. The world has changed, and they should remember that their duty was to maintain and protect relics before the world fell, not killing everyone whose ancestors may have helped breaking the world. Besides, they never really liked the Sword in the first place, which is why they hid from them the more dangerous relics (also, you may decide that the Sword's own secret- their will to regain their magic- was also discovered, and it may mean they have certain connections with a group of murderers named as the Promethean Brotherhood). In sort, while the Scroll were not the ideal option, the Sword were undoubtedly the worst one.

      However, taking a stand is one thing- actually doing something is another. While they could have helped supplying the Scroll with more powerful relics, they still didn't trusted them enough (plus, they feared that such items may fall to the hands of their "allies"), and like the Scroll they weren't much of a fighters (and maybe even worse than them) and so, they did the only thing they could have done- they stopped supplying relics at all. To both sides.

      That form of neutrality has quickly solved the problem- with new relics, the alliances the Scroll has established has quickly triumph over the Sword's fighting skills (especially since the Temple "accidentally" gave them the address of all the members of the Sword), and eventually the civil war was over- but not before many lives and relics were lost. In fact, the war has even got to the Inner Circle, which meant quick promotions in order to fill the void. As a result of the war, the Scroll may have pressured on the Temple to make a formal alliance with the certain shifters and witches who helped them- sure, they would still compete with them for relics, but they shouldn't be on a "search and destroy" mode. The Temple, on the other hand, would only agree for a passive alliance of "cold peace"- that is, there would be no explicit order to kill mages and skin walkers, yet there would be no official alliance either. Their main focus would be the relics, and if a witch stands in the way of an hunter to get one, he should do whatever it takes to achieve his goal.

      Eventually, both the Scroll and the Temple agreed on that "cold peace", and would wish to "celebrate" their agreement by phrasing a new Vow- only to discover that the Oath Stone has vanished. Apparently, one of the members of the Inner Circle who was affiliated with the Sword has used the chaos of the war and escaped with it. The Scroll, of course, do not care much about the Stone- in fact, they prefer to have their organization without a magical Oath which binds them together. The Temple, on the other hand, is troubled by the incident, yet it knows that even if the worst would happen and the Scroll would be discovered as future traitors, they could stop the flow of relics into their hands at every second. After all, they haven't revealed all of their tricks in the last war, and there are secrets in their Labyrinths which could have finished the war in less than a day if they wished for it.

      Eventually, that civil war would have left the Aegis Kai Doru as a very different organization than it used to be- it would turn into a secretive conspiracy of collectors who search after ancient relics, yet without constantly searching for an "ancient enemy" for a "betrayal before time". Asking a witch or a werewolf for an help would no be forbidden, even is not favored by the higher ups of the organization. They would not have the blessing of the Stone, but their contacts in other occult societies would prove itself worthy to it. Instead of their Unseen Senses at 5 dots of Status, you get Contacts for 3 dots which could be used for any occult society which the ST sees as appropriate.

      And what about the Sword? Well, they took and harsh blow. The chances that not many of them have survived, and while they may have salvaged some relics they have lost their access to their Labyrinths. Plus, now they would see both the Scroll and the Temple as traitors who were corrupted by witches and skin changers. They would have become even more militant than before, filled with anger and zeal. Thanks to the Oath Stone they could survive, making the Vow harsher than before, yet they still had to find a way to reclaim their powers. No longer they would collect relics- instead, they would destroy them, avenging both the monsters and their former brothers. While some may leave them in order to join the Promethean Brotherhood, the most would decide on a different path- not only that they would destroy the relics, they would take their powers into themselves, doing so by a certain manipulation of the cursed Rite of Hecate together with the mystical powers of the Oath Stone.

      The sword would change its name into the Sword of Eden, named after the mythical blade which guards the way to Paradise. They search after a way to reclaim their former glory, and punish those who have caused the fall of the old world. While all the members of the Sword suffer from the downside of their Vow once they join the organization (which includes the destruction of witches, werebeasts AND relics, other than the Stone of course), they gain its benefit only at Status of 3 and above. Plus, the way they "use" Relics is quite different- now, this is a 1-5 Merit, which represent how many "relic powers" one could have. In order to regain a new Relic Power, the hunter must find a relic and destroy it while using an elaborate ritual which ends with him absorbing the magical energy inside it. In order to do so, he must roll Stamina+Relics and use a Willpower point, with Exceptional Success meaning he gains the Willpower back. Failure means he didn't gained the power and suffered one level of Bashing Damage, while Dramatic Failure means he suffer a level of Lethal Damage. The relic is still destroyed, however. The hunter may not have Relic Powers with a total rating higher than his dots in the Endowment. The Relic Powers manifest themselves in the form of burned tattoos in unknown language, which mages would recognize as curses in High Speech. An hunter may replace existing Powers by doing the ritual again. Retrieving a relic to the headquarters of the Sword so it could be destroyed does not considered to be a breaking of the Vow.


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      • #4
        Malleus Maleficarum

        Some civil wars were spontaneous and quick- a terrible secret has found its way out, and suddenly everyone jump on each other throats. Usually, those civil wars end as fast as they start- people die, sure, but eventually they manage to conclude it. The case of the Shadow Congregation was different- the war was planned long time ago, brewing under the surface, just waiting for an opportunity the explode. Such long hatred doesn't die out quickly. In fact, it never died at all.

        It all starts when the Brotherhood of St Athanasius gets enough members (in the yes of its leader) to have a good chance against the rest of the conspiracy- something which was only a matter of time, considering their aggressive ways of recruitment- before they publicly reveal to all of the conspiracy the greatest secret of the Malleus: that corruption has spread through their ranks. Their own founder is still alive and in one league with the monsters- in fact, he is one by himself.

        That sudden announcement spreads confusion among the order. Many among the members of the Order of St Ambrose are caught of guard, aren't sure if they should believe the wild claims or reject them. Even when presented with evident, many of the members still can't choose sides- after all, they grew on a merciful dogma, and they know that not all monsters are sinners, yet the fear of getting killed by the Anthasians is quite real. The Order of St Longinus, however, has other doubt- all their lives they were taught they were vampire hunters. Now, they discover that they by themselves are manipulated by one. Seeing that confusion, the Brotherhood goes to an all out attack, turning against their own for a violent take over.

        While the attack was sudden and powerful, Baudolino did expected it to come. The Order of St Longinus is his own creation, after all, and he knows how it works, planning years head as only someone he lived as long as he did could. After the many years he was styled as the mythical patron of the Order, he reveals himself as a saint sent by the gods, using the weird blood magics he gained from vampire blood in order to convince the crowds. He use the bishops who he got addicted to Vitae as supporters of his claims and the carriers of his blessings. He use his alliance with Lady Lucifuge to strength his hold over the Latin Europe and create whole acts in which he banish demons who possess members of the Brotherhood in order to pose them as devil worshipers who try to harm the organization from the inside. Those acts all go well, yet the rival Order doesn't fall apart. They have numbers by their side.

        As the war goes one, the different orders and brotherhood start to see they have to choose sides. The Order of St Ambrose is took weak to stand on its own, and so it gathers the Sisterhood of St Wisdom and quietly leaves the conspiracy, using the civil war in order to fake its own destruction and create a small organization dedicated to tend the wounded and heal the broken- both human and monsters. The Order of St Longinus name the Brotherhood as heretics and banish them from the conspiracy, promoting instead the Anchorites of Wiborada of St Gall and the Order of St Januarius to fill the void- yet their influence is only so far, and outside of the Latin World the Brotherhood stands strong and the Malleus is called as the "Whore of Babylon". Almost no order joins the Anthasians in their war, but they don't need them. They rule simply by numbers.

        While the war never truly stops, eventually a status que is created- the proper Malleus Maleficarum establish itself as a power in the Latin Europe, with branches in South America. The Brotherhood of St Athanasius centers itself in North America and Ireland. The Order of St Ambrose goes deep underground and hides in Australia, trying to maintain their neutrality and help anyone they can. While there are some skirmishes among the organizations, most of the time it is a "cold war"- which may work well for now, but everyone know that an whole out war could abrupt at any moment. Yet Baudolino is confident with himself- he has time, after all. He plays for the long run. All he have to do is wait for the Athanasians to make a mistake.

        He just has to hope that confidence won't prove itself as his undoing.

        The Malleus use their Status and Endowment without change. The Order of St Ambrose replace the 5 dot Status bonus into 3 dots in Safehouse merit. The Brotherhood instead invest its time in weaponry, gaining 3 dots in the Armory merit. The Order also use Benediction in a different way- being the weakest faction, they lack access to great libraries and sacred knowledge the other groups has. Instead, they don't actually learn Benedictions- they improvise them. In order to activate such power, the hunter must pray and roll the right dicepoll, yet she only has to buy dots in Benediction itself. There is a downside to such a careless way to channel holy might, however. First, the power creates some sort of an "aura" around the hunters, drawing the attention of any monster within a radius of one meter per dot in the Endowment as some sort of Unseen Sense directed toward the hunter. The monsters name that feeling as if something is "crawling under their skin". Second, each Failure includes suffering one level of Bashing damage per dot in the Endowment, while Dramatic Failure turns that damage into Lethal. However, using the Benedictions in order to heal or protect someone innocent gives the hunter +2 for all rolls.

        The Brotherhood, however, has an whole other way to use their holy powers. While they still have access to rituals and theurgic powers, many of them lack the patience to track the holy days and preform the delicate sacraments. Instead of treating Benediction as a single merit, they buy each as a 1-5 power, which they decide on how many dots they invest in it when they get the rite. Each such ritual is rolled using its own rating, and is not effected by the regular modifiers of sacraments and sacred days for the saints, instead gaining +2 when it is used to attack a monster or heretic and +1 per person who belongs to the Brotherhood who is found near him, giving them powers in numbers.
        Last edited by LostLight; 10-14-2015, 05:01 AM.


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        • #5
          Task Force: VALKYRIE

          In most of the civil wars, the battle is among factions- one of the big groups inside of the organization starts to take a different direction, until their goal strays too much from the original goal of the conspiracy. On others, however, the state is not that simple- sometimes, the corruption doesn't take over one group, but spreads like cancer. Cell after cell are infected, without being concerned about the way the hunters see their Vigil. Such corruption usually takes the form of an ideology, of a whispers, of blind faith which moves like blood inside the great body of the conspiracy until it infects the brain and consumes it whole. That is the state of VALKYRIE.

          It's all about the vampires. They are the ones to fund VALKYRIE, after all. While many of the bloodsuckers would try to maintain the status que and would see the Task Force as a powerful tool, some may have a sinister agenda- after all, ask yourself this: if VALKYRIE can track its turning point back to WWII, and for some reason they maintain a Norse (Germanic?) theme to their weaponry, devices and objects, what if some of the vampires behind VALKYRIE have a certain ideology which has poisoned the organization since it was formed?

          If you ever felt disappointed from how Agents of SHIELD did some things in their HYDRA vs SHIELD civil war and thought "I could do it so much better!"- this is your chance! All it takes for it to happen is for one agent to discover about the true power behind the organization- or worse, some terrible project the vampires and their loyalists plan to execute- and the civil war begins. Maybe he manage to warns his cell mates before the slaughter begins. Maybe the operation starts before anyone can act. What ever is the case, now you have a full scale civil war between the ones who seek to fight for their country, and the ones who carry the more sinister agenda- that in order to create a New World Order, they need to destroy the old one. That in order to shape society, they must enslave it. That freedom is too dangerous, that power is all that important, that discovery requires experimentation.

          In order to honor those half crazy maniacs who follow their vampire masters in hopes of achieving immortality like them, let's give them an whole new name- they are the Architects of Hierarchy, the power behind the curtain, those who whisper in the shadows. Yet, such a poetic name is nice and all, it works more as a nickname- instead, their official name should be something Norse, like their theme, and in order to honor of their inspirational sources, lets call those guys the Jomungandr, the Midgard Serpent (now, you can't say "hail Jomungandr". You'll bite your tongue).

          Anyway, such a civil war of spies would undoubtedly take long time and hurt VALKYRIE. Many of the hunters would lose faith in their own organization, and may seek refuge in private companies or other agencies. Agents won't be able to trust their own Cell members, yet without such trust VALKYRIE would die off. Worse, remember that perhaps not all of the vampires in VALKYRIE work with the Architects, making them into their enemies. They may seek or ask for help from the VALKYRIE loyalists- and would the hunters work with them? Sure, they could use their resources, but they are the reason the corruption spread in the first place. Why should they trust one bloodsucker over the other?

          Eventually, if you wish for VALKYRIE to survive, they need to find a strong leader to unite them- maybe a veteran from the higher circles of VALKYRIE, who managed to stay clean from vampire corruption and has prepared a plan for the day the whole thing would blow up. Maybe it is a fresh yet charismatic member who manage to gather the hunters around him and rise as an hero from the civil war. Maybe it would even be the PCs job, in an whole chronicle dedicated for rebuilding the organization- and maybe, just maybe loyalists would turn upon loyalists, as each would have his own new vision of "better VALKYRIE". So much potential, so many possibilities.

          Now, such a civil war would force VALKYRIE into a radical change, yet their Status won't change much- they may be fractured for a while but once they'll gather they may call for backup as normal. However, Each time they'll try to call on their Allies, the ST would roll their Allies+Intelligence. Any regular or Dramatic Failure would end up with one of the "Allies" being actually a member of Jomungandr. In order to balance that a bit, you get Allies at 3 dots instead of 2. Jomungandr, however, don't trust each other so easily and instead get something which helps them infiltrate better- New Identity at 2 dots. Each of the groups still has Contacts as their 5th Status bonus, yet where VALKYRIE keeps its contacts among Federal Agencies, Jomungandr has the help of its vampire masters.

          Finally, the last problem is the RFID chip- while VALKYRIE may have denied that it is used to track down agents, the truth is that it does. Plus, having control over the chip would help Jomungandr in their battle against VALKYRIE, especially if they have a way to deactivate it. In order to bypass that problem, the brains of VALKYRIE would have to find a way to hack the chip and adjust it to their uses. Anyway, VALKYRIE would maintain their original Endowment, for it well represents their limited resources and importance of each Advanced Armory. On the other hand, Jomungandr would have a different version of their Endowment, called the Black License- a form of the chip which allows them a form of Resources. Advanced Armory would turn into 1-5 dots Endowment, which represented the highest classification of Advanced armory they can hold. They can't have more Advanced armory than 3 per dot of Status (Jomungandr) at the same time, showing their lack of trust in their members. They also have to feeding one of the vampires behind their organization at least once per month, which is usually done by giving them a random person as a "snack"


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          • #6
            The Lucifuge

            For some organizations, the civil war is a sudden and terrible event, created by betrayal, corruption or the simple understanding that the two groups can't keep going together anymore. For others, however, it is a daily reality. Such an example is the Lucifuge- sure, it doesn't seem like that, for the three factions of the Children work together, serve the Lady of Milan and fight the devil together. From the outside, there is no reason for them to fall into infighting. The truth is that you don't look "outside" enough- after all, a "civil war" is their very theme. One small branch who goes against the agenda of their greater organization. Endless fighting among their own members, among their own kin. Brother turns upon brother, father upon child. Those who reject fight against those who accept, and their civil war lasts since the day Lady Lucifuge decided not to work with her diabolic ancestors.

            The Lucifuge's civil war is fought against the L'Enfant Diaboliques.

            There isn't much to expand on the subject- the fight between those who work with the Satanic and those who work against it is as old as the Vigil. What we don't have are mechanics for the darker side of the Lucifuge, which is something I'll happily present in here.

            First, the Status bonus. The first dot of being a member of the L'Enfant would allow access to Endowments as normal, while the 5th Status bonus gives you a Mentor equal to the Lady- which could be easily represented by the Chaldeans of France- choose one as your mentor, for it is more than likely that each of those blind oracles has their own agenda. The third Status dot bonus should be presented by something which shows the less united nature of their organization- they are, after all, a collection of small cults and madmen who are connected together by their blind masters and demonic allies. We could also add something a bit "supernatural" to their status, which symbolize the intimacy they have with Hell- so in sort, let's give them a second Vice which created from the hold Hell has over them. We also shouldn't forget about the Lifespan bonus- unlike the Japanese Otodo, we can assume that their "blood" is as royal as the Lucifuge's, which should mean they have at least the same Lifespan as their traitorous cousins- or maybe even more. If you want, you can decide that because Hell looks fondly upon the Devil's Children, it decides to bless those who serves it with longer time on earth. On the other hand, there is a much more elegant solution- let's decide that each member with Status of 5 becomes possessed by an Infernal Demon, which grants him Immortality as long as the demon lives inside his heart with the other benefits being absorbed into their infernal blood and Endowments. There is, of course, a disadvantage- which is the fact you have to resist the demon's urge every time you can fulfill either of your Vices (see Inferno for details).

            Now, the main deal in the Endowments. Castigations are meant to be the Lady of Milan's secret rites she developed in order to channel the horror in their blood. That would mean that we have 3 options- a) she is lying b) let them buy Dread Powers and c) let them have Castigation in a very different way.If you read the thread until now, you must guess which option I'm going to use (c! it is c!)

            Anyway, so c- according to that option, the powers offered by the Castigations is the gift of their blood, yet the way the Lucifuge use it was created by the Lady in order to use them in the "safe way". Their dark cousins, however, use the more primal and dangerous way, which quickly corrupt their souls and sanity. In their case, there is no upper limit on the number of Castigations you may buy, but the 1-5 merit represent which parts of your soul you are willing to destroy in order to gain those powers: Heart, Mind, Soul, Body and Blood. There is no order in which you need to buy those "aspects", and each one is considered the be a single dot in Castigations (or "Taint", if you want a more appropriate name). Once you buy at least one dot in Taint you may start purchasing Rites, but for each Rite you buy you suffer one penalty which is tied to one of the Aspects (for your choosing). If you tie that power to the Heart, each time you fulfill your Virtue you get one less WP point per power tied to that Aspect (to minimum of 1, in which you can't tie new powers to your Heart). Mind would make you suffer -1 modifier per Rite for any Breaking Point roll (minimum of 1, and than you can't tie new powers to Mind). Soul would force you to take one negative Condition which may not be removed per Rite tied to that aspect, although you can turn three Conditions into a Ban and two Bans into a Bane. Body means you permanently reduce you Health Levels by one per Rite tied to the Aspect (minimum of 1, you know the rest). Finally, Blood means you must fulfill the desires of your legacy- murdering someone in a way which fulfills your Vice(s) in exchange for the Rite.

            Unlike Castigations, those powers are permanent- you can't replace or remove them. Hell doesn't give away what belongs to it, and the stains on your soul may not be removed so easily.


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            • #7
              well, that was the last Civil War for the project. I'm not going to do Compacts, simply because I find their inner strives a lot less interesting, and the rest of the conspiracies are too scattered (like the Cainte Heresy and the Les Mysteres) or too united (like the Cheiron Group or the Knights of St George). If someone has ideas for new Civil Wars or their own versions for such strives, feel free to share- but for now, the project is finished :P


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              • #8
                Well, this was a surprising find for me. I definitely like your write-up for an Aegis Kai Doru civil war, since it's similar to my take on the concept.

                In the universe I'm conceptualizing (whose present setting is in the year 2018), the Aegis Kai Doru are a restructured conspiracy. Their civil war took place during a larger conflict which shook up the whole World of Darkness in 2012, and it left many of their members and a sizable number of their Relics lost. The Labyrinth of Athens, in fact, was destroyed and subsequently abandoned, with the majority of the Inner Circle among the casualties.

                The main faction of the Aegis moved its base of operations to Nicosia, Crete, and has spent the last six years rebuilding its ranks and reclaiming lost Labyrinths. They have a less antagonistic view towards mages and werewolves (and other supernaturals), to the point that there are even a few who are members themselves. This has led to a high prevalence of 'cancer cells' within the conspiracy, but also strengthened it against other groups that weathered through the war.

                However, there are still splinter groups who remain independent of the Aegis Kai Doru for varying reasons. The Sword of Eden could fit well as one of those groups, composed exclusively or at least primarily of Sword members who remain staunchly anti-supernatural. Their variation of the Relic Endowment further widens the split between them and the new mainstream Aegis. And I wouldn't be surprised if they also work alongside (or clash against) the Maw of the River as often as they do with the Promethean Brotherhood.


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                • #9
                  Thanks! And yeah, in case you use both them and the Maw, they are going to have some interaction, which would depend more on the Sword than the Maw. As long as the first just search to destroy the Relic, the Crocodile Priests would gladly help. On the other hand, if the Sword would seek the Relic in order to bind its power, they would have a clash with the Maw, who wish to return its power to the River. Luckily for the Sword, they are new enough for the assassins of the Maw to make a united front toward them, and while they eat Relics, they don't "human Relics"... for now.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    Luckily for the Sword, they are new enough for the assassins of the Maw to make a united front toward them, and while they eat Relics, they don't "human Relics"... for now.
                    I just thought of the Faithful of Shulpae when you said that. Oh God. The potential story hooks that could come from that.


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                    • #11
                      Continuing where I left off, I'll try to air my thoughts on the other civil war concepts listed down here, so far. First up on the list are the Ascending Ones.

                      As someone who's read C&C, I'm also a fan of the write-up of the Ascending Ones as three mini-conspiracies who are united as one group in tentative equilibrium. I'm not sure where the Temple's 'experiments with the Divine Fire' are in the Hunter books, but I agree that the split would more or less be a nonviolent one. The event that could probably fracture them in the first place, though, might have been a different story. Perhaps like the Cult of Set before it, the Cult of the Phoenix was compromised from within, and most of its leadership was destroyed in the purge that followed?

                      The Jagged Crescent's decision to 'return to its roots' seems kind of ironic, given how the Temple would be closer to the ancient Cult than it is. But their twist on the Endowment suits them. If their Elixirs produce an addictive effect rather than outright kill whoever drinks them, it really opens up opportunities for abuse if they use said property to bring in recruits.

                      The Knife of Paradise's depiction in this situation is also interesting. I haven't read up on Regia Curses, yet, but I assume they'll be more apt than Bans or Banes given the conspiracy's Egyptian origins. And then there's that "burning angel of God". What is it? Could it be a Quashmal? Or something else? Something more insidious? Depending on how an ST spins it, it could prove to be the undoing of this splinter of the Ascending Ones.


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                      • #12
                        For the Malleus Maleficarum, their civil war situation is exactly how I pictured it. And then some. The mechanics for Benedictions as used by the Brotherhood of Athanasius and the Order of St. Ambrose seem a little messy, though.

                        For the former, does that mean they are restricted to learning up to a total of five Benedictions? And if they want to change which Benedictions they can use, they need to meditate or perform some kind of ceremony to switch out individual powers (a la Castigations for Lucifuge?)

                        For the latter, I have to wonder if they would even have Benedictions. It's been hinted a few times in some books that the 'holy powers' wielded by the Malleus Maleficarum may have infernal origins, and I could imagine them discarding said powers to keep their souls from being corrupted. While this does weaken their position further, perhaps an ST could allow for the Order to learn Benedictions which truly come from a divine source. The concept of improvising Benedictions, though, is a promising one.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                          Task Force: VALKYRIE

                          In most of the civil wars, the battle is among factions- one of the big groups inside of the organization starts to take a different direction, until their goal strays too much from the original goal of the conspiracy. On others, however, the state is not that simple- sometimes, the corruption doesn't take over one group, but spreads like cancer. Cell after cell are infected, without being concerned about the way the hunters see their Vigil. Such corruption usually takes the form of an ideology, of a whispers, of blind faith which moves like blood inside the great body of the conspiracy until it infects the brain and consumes it whole. That is the state of VALKYRIE.
                          http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...ternative-take

                          This actually can mesh well with Kings Raven's take on "The Vampire Question". It really emphasizes the fact that one doesn't have to be something 'monstrous' to be a literal monster. To quote Henry Wu from Jurassic World, "Monster" is a relative term.

                          And to further up the SHIELD references, what if the overall head of the conspiracy is like Nick Fury? And I mean the original Nick Fury. Not his Samuel Jackson-lookalike of a son. What if TFV has been commanded by someone who lived through World War II, and managed to somehow slow his aging down and consequentially prolong his life? Did he do it by scientific means? Or is he some kind of Immortal? And what if he didn't just live through World War II? What if he was actually there when the conspiracy's precursor organization was founded in the wake of Lincoln's death?

                          I would also like to mention TMNT's John Bishop as another reference for this concept.


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                          • #14
                            *Cracks knuckles* If I may...

                            Null Mysteriis

                            Many people think that a civil war starts because of a grand reason, of a mighty struggle told as though it were an epic through the years post. What no one really likes to talk about are the civil wars that start because some people are just stubborn idiots.

                            The Organization for the Rational Assessment of the Supernatural's election for their leadership was the straw that broke the back of this particular camel. Alexander Watt and his Rationalist faction still managed to take the election, leading to the Open-Mind faction calling out for a recount. Then another recount. Time and again each ballot count came back favoring Watt's people. So as the treasurer, Vincent Fielding took as much money as he could and went off to form his own branch of Null Mysteriis, and brought the Cataclysmicists with him. It wasn't so much a war of combat as it was a war of sniping, trying to take down the enemy by criticizing their work or sabotaging their experiments. It was the Science Wars all over again, and this time there was no prize to win. Watt and his loyalists were at first incensed by it all, but pooling their resources quickly rebuilt their treasury and went to work trying to put rigorous science to the ghosts and vampires of the world.

                            Casualties were heavy, as the Open-Minds and Cataclysmicists also had the more "combat-capable" membership with them. Desperate, Watt made an offer to anyone who knew about Null Mysteriis, that in exchange for information they would get protection. It was a rough growing period, and many a cell was lost or subverted by terrible things. Labs were burned, papers destroyed, decades of scientific investigation into the paranormal was lost. But like the sciences they clung too, the rationalists stubbornly refused to buckle. Though unable to access the same budget of a conspiracy, they made do with what they could find. Vampires were baited with sedative-filled junkies and captured for study. The skies were watched and patterns made, as the hunters who played protectors finally got their answers, or at least the answers that helped them survive another few nights. ORAS survived, battered, bruised, and hurting, but forged into something more. Though there were still many arguments of what theories applied to what phenomena or whether a medical doctor was really qualified to speak on string theory, the compact was able to rebuild in the halls of academia and medicine into a group that, while not able to quickly hypothesize on why ghosts were different from demons, could at least start explaining things to the people with the shotguns.

                            The Open-Minds and Cataclysmicists that took on the name of "Defectum Termini" (loosely, "No Boundaries), actually came off the worst in their "civil war". Though at first able to hard-charge through the paranormal and supernatural, personalities started to clash and grate against each other. The smallest questionings of techniques for study became full-on brawls in the labs and fields. Unlike the rationalists, who could at least make some effort to explain what they'd found, the Open-Minds and Catclysmicists often sounded too much like a new-age crystal movement for many hunters to take seriously. Fielding, knowing he was losing control, tried to reinvigorate his followers by opting to try and recreate two of the most obscure and even insane scientific tests on the nature of life and death; Dr. Duncan MacDougall's "weighing of the soul" and Robert E. Cornish's "resurrection see-saw".

                            To date, no one has been able to find any trace of Fielding or the fellow researchers that assisted him. The Open-Minds soon fractured, unable to unify under a single leader or group. Some skulked back to Null Mysteriis with fresh crow to eat while others either became pariahs to the Vigil or opted to give up science altogether, broken by what they had gone through. The few that remained connected to their new compact are either still starry-eyed idealists dreaming of becoming the next Tesla, or broken, bitter PhD holders too stubborn to admit they're wrong. As it is, Defectum Termini only holds one or two real labs to their name, the rest of their membership is scattered throughout homeopathic offices, free inner city clinics, or roaming the country desperately trying to keep their ideas alive.

                            The Cataclysmicists haven't been heard from, going underground after the failure of Fielding's experiments. The only lead was a hidden bunker complex found in the Black Hills, cleared out and left to the elements. The group of Lakota hunters who found the complex said that they'd never seen any sign of it before they found it, and that it looked like it had been abandoned for centuries judging by the rust and weathering. Unless another bunker is found, or someone decides to come forward, the Cataclysmicists are gone.

                            Functionally, Null Mysteriis is the same organization, though the status advantages have changed with the times. Now instead of Parapsychology, there is a specialty in Fringe Science for one-dot members. Also, there are two dots of Allies at status 3; one dot for Null Mysteriis, and one for another hunter group that's agreed to protect you. Of course, the five-dot status is the same as before.

                            Defecturm Termini members focus instead of the esoteric side of things. They keep the Parapsychology bonus for one-dot members, and at three dots members gain two extra dots in either Occult, Science, or Academics. Those few at five dots have enough pull to gain two Resource dots, given that the group's money should be trusted to people who can at least pretend to know how to use it.

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                            • #15
                              so here is a one big comment!

                              Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                              As someone who's read C&C, I'm also a fan of the write-up of the Ascending Ones as three mini-conspiracies who are united as one group in tentative equilibrium. I'm not sure where the Temple's 'experiments with the Divine Fire' are in the Hunter books, but I agree that the split would more or less be a nonviolent one. The event that could probably fracture them in the first place, though, might have been a different story. Perhaps like the Cult of Set before it, the Cult of the Phoenix was compromised from within, and most of its leadership was destroyed in the purge that followed?
                              the stories presented through the thread are, of course, optional- so you could choose any story that works better for your game. The Temple's experiments with the Divine Fire is detailed at C&C

                              The Jagged Crescent's decision to 'return to its roots' seems kind of ironic, given how the Temple would be closer to the ancient Cult than it is. But their twist on the Endowment suits them. If their Elixirs produce an addictive effect rather than outright kill whoever drinks them, it really opens up opportunities for abuse if they use said property to bring in recruits
                              glad you liked it! also- the "return to roots" comes from Mortal Remains, as the Crescent is presented as the one to preserve the ancient knowledge about the "Undying Ones"

                              The Knife of Paradise's depiction in this situation is also interesting. I haven't read up on Regia Curses, yet, but I assume they'll be more apt than Bans or Banes given the conspiracy's Egyptian origins. And then there's that "burning angel of God". What is it? Could it be a Quashmal? Or something else? Something more insidious? Depending on how an ST spins it, it could prove to be the undoing of this splinter of the Ascending Ones
                              yep, the angel is a pure plot hook, and the possible combination of Iremtie and Pyrian Alchemies looked like an interesting idea

                              For the former, does that mean they are restricted to learning up to a total of five Benedictions? And if they want to change which Benedictions they can use, they need to meditate or perform some kind of ceremony to switch out individual powers (a la Castigations for Lucifuge?)
                              ammm no- it works quite differently actually, Instead of having a single merit called Benedictions, you buy each Rite individually. Because those Rites have no associated ranking, each time a player buys one he choose how many dots he invest in it, and when he activate the Rite he adds that ranking to the Dicepoll. For example, Father Lucas buys Armor of St Martin for 2 dots and Fortitude of St George for 3 dots. When he cast the later, he'll roll 3+Composure. When he cast the former, he rolls 2+Stamina. The two Benedictions are not related to each other mechanically. While it may hinder the effects of the Benediction when used by a single hunter compared to a member of the Malleus, it reinforce their need to work together- giving hunters another reason for working together, other than the bonus which may give their Benedictions a lot more brute force (again, part of the theme of the group)

                              For the latter, I have to wonder if they would even have Benedictions. It's been hinted a few times in some books that the 'holy powers' wielded by the Malleus Maleficarum may have infernal origins, and I could imagine them discarding said powers to keep their souls from being corrupted. While this does weaken their position further, perhaps an ST could allow for the Order to learn Benedictions which truly come from a divine source. The concept of improvising Benedictions, though, is a promising one.
                              one of the points of the Civil Wars is to show you could hack the different effects of the Endowments into new crunchy uses. I also hate writing individual powers, which is another reason for me to use the same powers as the original conspiracy. In the Order's case, they were given the effect of "improvised Benedictions" in order to turn them less scholar-like and more into mystics driven by divine inspiration- which does work if you decide to make the canon form of Benedictions into "evil magic"

                              And to further up the SHIELD references, what if the overall head of the conspiracy is like Nick Fury? And I mean the original Nick Fury. Not his Samuel Jackson-lookalike of a son. What if TFV has been commanded by someone who lived through World War II, and managed to somehow slow his aging down and consequentially prolong his life? Did he do it by scientific means? Or is he some kind of Immortal? And what if he didn't just live through World War II? What if he was actually there when the conspiracy's precursor organization was founded in the wake of Lincoln's death?
                              this is one of the possibilities foe VALKYRIE's reconstruction, yes.

                              Also- Flyboy- nice writeup! I wondered if I should make their Civil War, but I was afraid of making it a bit ridiculous. You, however, made it into an actually believable scenario. Good job!


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